Wildlife warrior passes on his knowledge
AS RAY Revill sits on the lawns at Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary feeding five-year-old Wal he hand raised from a joey, it's easy to see his passion for animal welfare.
It's been 12 years since the sanctuary was started and Ray has been there every step of the way, working countless hours - all as a volunteer.
"It's a seven day a week, 16-hour day commitment and you have to love what you do," he said.
Ray did try his hand at the regular nine-to-five, working as a builder for a while, but it was never really his thing.
"It just wasn't my forte," he said. "I'd always been an animal kid. I was always collecting whatever nature could provide."
While Ray has a soft side for his animal counterparts, the same could be said about how he feels for humanity.
Among a long list of contributions to the community, Ray said visits from nursing homes and disabled people were among the most moving.
"They come here and we give them our friendliest of our kids to pat," he said.
"To watch them get tears in their eyes and especially the intellectually disabled ones.
"That breaks your heart.
"And it's joy.
"I know it's joy, but I still get teared up at seeing the enjoyment that they're getting. It's hard to explain.
"What I do comes from the heart."
One of Ray's most passionate topics is education and passing on his knowledge and life experiences to others.
"Telling them what Australia is about," he said.
"How unique we are.
"How unique our animals are.
"We're a lucky country in the sense that we have the most unique and diverse range of species of animals in the world.
"Some of the most colourful birds are here in Australia.
"We have some of the most far out and whacked out looking animals like the platypus and what have you."
He enjoys explaining Australian wildlife to overseas visitors and locals who are unaware of their importance.
"I do a school program called AVA pet talk and I go around to all the schools in the district on behalf of AVA pets and I talk to all the kids about the animals and how they can create wildlife in their own backyard."
The sanctuary is not-for-profit and relies on visitors who come through the door to keep it running.
If you would like to help, you can go to 31 Mungar Rd, Maryborough and see what they offer - peacocks, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, turtles, a camel and dingos to colourful birds and all sorts of snakes and lizards.
Ray would love to hear from someone who could volunteer their time to help out with grant writing so they can secure more funds.
Visit their website or phone 41222080.